Command-line to list DNS servers used by my system

  • Is there a command to list dns servers used by my system?

    I tried

    $ cat /etc/resolv.conf 
    # Dynamic resolv.conf(5) file for glibc resolver(3) generated by resolvconf(8)
    $ cat /etc/network/interfaces 
    # interfaces(5) file used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8)
    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback

    But it doesn't list any servers, if I go to "Network Manager GUI Tool", in Wireless section it lists "DNS"

    Can I get same information from command line?

    I am using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

    What are you trying to find? the DNS servers being used by your system? or are you trying to do a DNS lookup?

    The former @LordofTime

    @LordofTime DNS servers being used by my system

    you are using are you *running* a DNS server?

    See for a non-Ubuntu version of this question

  • Marty Fried

    Marty Fried Correct answer

    8 years ago

    resolv.conf isn't really used anymore, unless you implement it yourself. The network manager does it now. I created an alias to list the DNS servers on my system, as I sometimes switch from OpenDNS to Google's open DNS.

    Ubuntu >= 15

    nmcli device show <interfacename> | grep IP4.DNS

    Ubuntu <= 14

    nmcli dev list iface <interfacename> | grep IP4

    In my case, <interfacename> is eth0, which is common, but not always the case.

    See if this is what you want.


    I think resolv.conf is actually used indirectly, because the network manager creates the server that listens on, but I was told that this is an implementation detail that should not be counted on. I think that if you enter DNS addresses before this entry, they might get used, but I'm not sure exactly how this works. I think it's best to use the network manager in most cases, when possible.

    thanks, yes that seems to be working, ubuntu networking seems to be confusing, so I can set dns servers in resolve.conf/base or in /etc/network/interfaces or in network manager, is there a definitive guide for ubuntu networking?

    If you use the GUI, then the best place to set it is by creating profiles in the Network Connections Dialog. I duplicated the default, then edited the duplicate to make the changes I wanted, keeping the default to make sure I always had a working profile. Then, it's easy to switch profiles. I don't know how to do this without the GUI, but there is a user "James Henstridge" who is very knowledgeable on Ubuntu's networking; you might try searching askubuntu for his information. He told me about the command I gave you in this post. is a nice article abount DNS resolution in ubuntu 12.04

    Nice link - a lot of good information there to digest.

    That didn't work for me, but nm-tool does.

    Are you using 12.04, the version specified? Did you substitute something like "eth0" for ? (My original post actually made it clearer, but someone changed it, and I added the note below). It still works for me, every day.

    This doesn't work for me. With a `vpnc` VPN connected, `nmcli dev list iface eth0` shows the original DNS server, but the VPN's DNS server is not listed, even if I use `tun0` for ``. So it might work some of the time but is not reliable in every case.

    @MartyFried Your answer seems to be stuck at 42 votes :)

    It would be great to figure out a way to do this without network-manager, which would be preferable for servers. Actually, as suggested by one of the below answers, it looks like `cat /etc/resolv.conf` does exactly that. I have the DNS servers configured in `/etc/network/interfaces` and they do land in `resolv.conf` as expected.

    Seems `nmcli` has changed its syntax. Command `nmcli dev list iface` no longer works. I have written an answer to similar question for Ubuntu 14.04 and later:

    It still works for me using 14.04. You do need to add the device at the end, of course (ie, eth0, eth1, or whatever device you are using).

    By the way, `nmcli dev show` doesn't work for 14.04. That's the version I have, so I can't speak for future versions

    I'm using 15.04 and 'nmcli dev show |grep DNS' works for me instead.

    ffs. i think you just made me install Gnome on my server.

    16.04: The program 'nmcli' is currently not installed.

    @vcardillo: the original question stated: "I am using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS". It's been 5 years since I posted my answer. Nothing lasts forever.

    I would like to warn readers that the information provided by nmcli and nm-tool might not be correct. In testing my router setup, I changed the DHCP server to configure a DNS. On my client (linux mint 17.3) I did `sudo dhclient -r; sudo dhclient` to renew IP configuration. At this point both commands I mentioned showed the old DNS, not the new one. `cat /etc/resolv.conf` did work for me, but according to op it did not work for him. The only reliable way to figure out which DNS is used appears to be to a lookup with for example dig, but I doubt dig will show you all configured DNS.

  • This is valid for Ubuntu 13.10 and earlier. For Ubuntu 14.04 and above, see Koala Yeung's answer to: How to know what DNS am I using in Ubuntu from 14.04 onwards



    You will get an output similar to

    NetworkManager Tool
    State: connected (global)
    - Device: eth0  [Wired connection 1] -------------------------------------------
      Type:              Wired
      Driver:            e1000e
      State:             connected
      Default:           yes
      HW Address:        00:11:22:33:44:55
        Carrier Detect:  yes
        Speed:           1000 Mb/s
      Wired Properties
        Carrier:         on
      IPv4 Settings:
        Prefix:          24 (

    Or to see just the DNS do

    nm-tool | grep DNS

    just wanted to add-up, going to `nm-applet`'s connection information menu will also work :)

    +1 this also works, as does nm-cli as answered by @Marty Fried

    Yes, same info, but nmcli is easier to parse if you want to extract it out for a different presentation, such as conky, or simply a summary like my grep.

    This doesn't work for me. With a `vpnc` VPN connected, `nm-tool` shows the original DNS server, but the VPN's DNS server is not listed. So it might work some of the time but is not reliable in every case.

    works great on lubuntu 14.04 as well. thanks

    nm-tool is not found on 15.10

    this installs a *[email protected]#$load* of packages. Is there a light weight cli tool?

    yeah this doesn't work anymore... no `nm-tool` in 16.x either. `nmcli` (in Marty Fried's answer) is the way to go

  • The two top-scoring answers, nmcli dev list iface <interfacename> | grep IP4 and nm-tool both assume that network-manager is in control. Which it is - on desktop machines most of the time at least. But the fuller answer is that sometimes network-manager is not in control. E.g. vpnc messes with /etc/resolv.conf directly.

    So: First check if is used. This could be done with dig:

    > dig something.unknown  | grep SERVER:
    ;; SERVER:

    Now you know that we are using localhost. Go ahead with one of the popular answers. I like:

    > nm-tool | grep DNS:

    But if is not used, then nm-tool's and nmcli's output will be misleading:

    > dig something.unknown  | grep SERVER:
    ;; SERVER:
    > nm-tool | grep DNS:

    Here, dig is correct and nm-tool's information is misleading. In reality addresses local to the environment I've VPN-ed into are resolved correctly. All of which Google's DNS doesn't know about.

    This is because after connecting to a VPN with vpnc, it puts a line in /etc/resolv.conf so it looks like:

    # Dynamic resolv.conf(5) file for glibc resolver(3) generated by resolvconf(8)
    search MyDomain

    This is the most complete answer

    Thank you. Some of us out here do not use NM and that is good for the community.

    Just for completion, the `dig` utility can be easily installed with `apt install dnsutils`.

  • In Ubuntu 18.04 you can use systemd-resolve --status

    NB if you cat /etc/resolv.conf it even says this

    +1, built-in check. no need external utilities.

    +10, no needs extra utilities

  • cat /etc/resolv.conf should show your DNS servers.

    You may not modify the resolv.conf directly with Ubuntu 12.04. If you need to change them though, you can add new DNS servers in your /etc/network/interfaces file by adding the following:

     dns-nameservers x.x.x.x x.x.x.x

    where x is the DNS servers you wish to use.

    If I were you, I would uninstall network-manager. In my opinion it's a pile of crap.

    You can accomplish everything you need to do manually without worrying about changing your settings, especially if you have multiple NICs on the computer.

    Do I have to restart nm after doing the dns change?

    --Thanks. This is great. It works even without that network-manager business.

    "cat /etc/resolv.conf should show your DNS servers". It doesn't.

  • nmcli version 0.9.10

    You can use either of these commands:

    nmcli -t -f IP4.DNS device show eth0
    nmcli -t -f IP4.DNS connection show conn-name
  • In Ubuntu 15.10 you can get DNS

    nmcli device show <interface name> 
  • Amazing how many ways there are to do it. On an Ubuntu Server 18.04, if you don't want to install anything extra like nm-tool, then systemd-resolve --status will work out of the box for DNS information.

    If you're interested getting not only your DNS servers, but also default gateway, IP address, network mask, etc, then netplan ip leases eth0 will give you all that information in an easy-to-read form (assuming you're interested in the eth0 interface).

    Thank you, I didn't have NetworkManager and didn't want to install it, your answer was very helpful.

  • Seems to be managed by network manager. Have a look here

    for a large explanation.

    Or the short version it to look in




    but `/etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf` doesn't have any dns servers listed in it

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